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May '12

Sailing the Atlantic and More

Aubrey Millard

Aubrey and Judy Millard left Toronto in Veleda IV, their 32 foot Ontario sailboat, in July of 1998. They began by going up to the North Channel of Georgian Bay, still one of the most beautiful cruising areas they have visited, then continued through Chicago, where they took down their mast and entered the Illinois River, to the Mississippi, the Tenn-Tom Waterway to Mobile, and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway to the Florida Keys. From there they cruised to Havana, Cuba, and the Bahamas before returning to Fort Lauderdale.

There eastward crossing was a challenge - strong northerly winds instead of the usual light southwest breezes made for a very uncomfortable trip to Bremuda, the Azores, and England, forty-four sailing days with the longest passage of 2100 miles taking twenty-one days non-stop.  They wintered in London, then went through the Netherlands, Germany's Kiel Canal, and Denmark, with stops in Sweden and Norway, before crossing the North Sea again to Scotland, via the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness to the Hebrides, down the Irish Sea

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 visiting Belfast, the Isle of Man, Wales, and the Scilly Islands before crossing the English Channel to the Channel Islands, then up the Seine River to Paris. After a month there, staying in a marina in the centre of the city, they continued up the Marne, over to the Saone and down the Rhone to the Mediterranean.

Their four years in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea took them to Barcelona, the Balearic Islands, Tunisia, Malta, Sicily, Croatia, Venice, Greece, Turkey (their favourite country), Northern Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine. The historic sites were outstanding: the Acropolis in Athens, Baalbek in Lebanon, the Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza, Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the “Valley of Death” of the Light Brigade in Crimea. They spent a winter in Ostia, the port of Rome, and Aubrey motored up the Tiber River in his dinghy.


Exiting the Mediterranean by way of the Canal du Midi, they sailed along the north and west coast of Spain, along the Portugese coast to Lisbon, out into the Atlantic again to Madeira, the Canary Islands, the Cape Verde Islands, then made the 2100 mile passage to Antigua, this time with favourable winds and currents helping them there in sixteen days.

Four years in the Eastern Caribbean took them to nearly all the islands: Antigua, Barbuda to see the frigatebird colony, Montserrat with the volcanic devastation of the city of Plymouth, Guadeloupe and Martinique, St. Lucia, the Grenadines of St. Vincent, Grenada (their favourite in this area), Trinidad, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Cuba. After a year full of breakages (Judy’s leg, the boom, and the propeller shaft), Veleda came back to Toronto

 for the first time in the fall of 2009.

Summer 2010 saw them head out the St. Lawrence to the south coast of Newfoundland, a beautiful area, and over to Cape Breton Island, where they left Veleda for the winter. They returned to the boat in June 2011 and sailed south along the east coast of Nova Scotia (Halifax, Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, Chester, Shelburne, Yarmouth), across the Bay of Fundy (whale watching) into Maine. They went down the Maine coast and that of New England states to weather Hurricane Irene at the Massachusetts/Rhode Island border. After going down the East River through New York City, they went up  the Delaware Canal and down the Chesapeake Bay into Norfolk Virginia where they entered the Intra Coastal Waterway (ICW), and on down to Marathon in the Florida Keys for Christmas and New Years, before heading out to Florida’s Dry Tortugas. From there they crossed to Isla Mujeres on the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, and continued south along the coast of Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala where they dove on the reefs, hiked in several National Parks bird watching and visited many Mayan sites.

Future Plans

 They left Veleda in the Rio Dulce of Guatemala in April to return to Canada for the summer. They will take their trailer west, to the Yukon and Alaska before going down to Vancouver and Oregon, where they will leave it in October to head back to Veleda in Guatemala. Their tentative plans are, in spring 2013, to truck the boat from Galveston, Texas, to Seattle, Washington, and sail the west coast for a couple of year

Editor's Note: Thanks to Aubrey and Judy Millard for writing this summary of Aubrey's presentation.  Also if you weren't present at the meeting, Aubrey is Ray Millard's brother.

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